Follow Your Heart or Follow Your Wallet?

Follow your heart - Naked Ambition
Follow your heart - Naked Ambition

God it’s a tough one. Is there anyone who doesn’t grapple with this question at some point?  You can count on it to come up at life’s major turning points, or for many of us, it’s a lifelong battle. That little voice in the back of your head, that feeling in the pit of your stomach, constantly wondering…‘Am I doing what I really should be doing?’

There is no doubt that this is a very first world problem. We have choice and opportunity and time to ponder and contemplate. We are lucky. But when you are in the depths of this dilemma you don’t feel lucky at all. It can consume your every waking (and non-waking) hour.

I want to say everyone can have it now. Have a job they love and the cash too. Because it is not true that a great career and great money HAVE to be mutually exclusive.  But unfortunately the reality is that sometimes you just can’t. Or maybe you just don’t….yet.  Because some jobs are just not the right fit, some jobs completely suck and some companies are where careers go to die.

And although people will tell you “love what you do and the money will follow,” it’s so hard not to wonder, what if money doesn’t know where I’m going? What if money can’t read a Google map or see the trail of breadcrumbs I left on the way?

If you take a pay cut in order to take a  job you’ll  really love, it’s possible you won’t be able to afford the life you have become accustomed to. Will you then agonise over the missed opportunities, foregone holidays with loved ones? Or worse will you risk losing some of the assets you really worked for?  This fear of scarcity can be debilitating and is a key reason we feel stuck between a rock and a hard place (or a rental and our own place). After all, as they say, money can’t buy you happiness….but it can buy you a bloody big boat that can pull up right up next to it!

But can you afford to only talk about your dreams after two or three glasses of wine and then forget about it in the morning? Or just keep waiting until you have more time, more courage, more money?

While there is comfort in a job that offers you financial security and rewards, if you find yourself day-to-day asking, ‘what the hell am I doing with my life?’ then the security of that job may have an even higher price.

It can come in the form of jealousy when a friend tells you about their promotion, or  when your see a film you could have made, or even when you read a totally awesome blog about following your heart that you wish you had written ;)

These are all signs of your soul telling you that there is somewhere else you want to be. These feelings are your compass, trying to show you where you should be heading and what you need to do to get there. This little compass is gold.  But be warned it can also turn into an attention seeking little shit if it’s completely ignored.

But then what about the different ache? The rising panic you feel when you can’t pay your car rego or the sick feeling you get when you check your account balance and it’s almost at zero with three weeks to go till payday?

The need for security and the need for creative freedom live right next to each other, in the depths of your heart and they will both kick and scream when they feel threatened or their needs are not being met. So how can you strike a balance and keep both of these critters happy?

If your money and your passion are not currently friends, then trying taking steps to bring them closer together. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. There may be great role within your company that you would be better suited to, a project you have been dying to put your hand up for, even a mate you can get creative with after work (no euphemism). If you begin the journey to where you really want, you may find that little voice sleeps every now and then.

So to finish with something not in the slightest bit clichéd or predictable, in a post about living your dreams… a quote from Steve Jobs… “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Fiona @ Naked Ambition

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